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Cold Fusion Scientist Exonerated 171

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cold-hearted dept.
Icarus1919 writes "New Scientist reports that the scientist who discovered a possible cold fusion reaction by bombarding a solvent with neutrons and sonic waves has recently been exonerated of accusations of scientific misconduct following the verification of his results by another scientist."
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Cold Fusion Scientist Exonerated

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  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by Brickwall (985910) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:49PM (#18070100)
    Yay! I'm gonna get a Mr. Fusion!
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:53PM (#18070172) Journal
    Well, maybe in 20 years we'll have plenty of power for electric cars, but then in 20+ years, what will we do with all that bio-fuel?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BSAtHome (455370)
      Maybe they then can go back to their roots and produce food? Maybe a too obvious insight though...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Khashishi (775369)
      feed it to the 12 billion poor people
    • by rbanffy (584143)
      We stockpile them for use when the next ice age comes.

      We will need all greenhouse gases we can get.
  • by Chacham (981)
    Cold Fusion Scientist Exonerated

    Was that post-mortem?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by SEWilco (27983)
      It said that a solution was bombarded with neutrons and sonic waves, not that the scientist was.
    • No no... exonerated, not exhumed.

      It's an easy mixup to make.
  • Mr. Kilmer will happy to hear this news.
  • Odd. (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:54PM (#18070182) Homepage Journal
    Where's the cold fusion? The article sounds more like Sonofusion [wikipedia.org]. Which, I can assure you, is a long ways from "cold".
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)
      So, maybe he's just stupid, not guilty of misconduct. Not sure, as a scientist, which I'd rather be labeled with.
      • Re:Odd. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gardyloo (512791) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:11PM (#18070464)
        I can assure you that Taleyarkhan is *not* stupid. The problem is, his main (or at least one of the originals) detractor is Seth Putterman, who is also decidedly *not* stupid. This is one of the few issues I feel a little more familiarity with than most slashdot readers, and nothing in this case is as clear-cut as "he's obviously dumb or a liar".
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BSAtHome (455370)
          The most preprominent problem with non-mainstream science and results is that it is a political minefield. Anything rieking esoteric in the scientific community is suppressed and/or ridiculed by the peers. This is a common problem. It is much easier to argue "it's bad science" than to disprove one's results if your own field of expertise is threatened in the slightest way.
          • For example, take the work of Georg Cantor, creator of set theory. Per Wikipedia's entry on Cantor [wikipedia.org],

            "Cantor established the importance of one-to-one correspondence between sets, defined infinite and well-ordered sets, and proved that the real numbers are "more numerous" than the natural numbers. In fact, Cantor's theorem implies the existence of an "infinity of infinities." He defined the cardinal and ordinal numbers, and their arithmetic. Cantor's work is of great philosophical interest, a fact of which h

            • FWIW, Kronecker was a finitist, you might say the finitist, and as such, no one would seriously expect him not to object to Cantor's work, which is about as contrary to finitism as it gets. Wittgenstein is also noted for finitist leanings, if you will, although he denies being an actual finitist.
          • by DM9290 (797337)
            "The most preprominent problem with non-mainstream science and results is that it is a political minefield. Anything rieking esoteric in the scientific community is suppressed and/or ridiculed by the peers. This is a common problem. It is much easier to argue "it's bad science" than to disprove one's results if your own field of expertise is threatened in the slightest way."

            Is it a common problem? How common is it?

            Can you list 10 major scientific breakthroughs made in the past 300 years by "non-mainstream"
            • I seem to recall that the scientific community didn't greet Wegener's ideas about continental drift too enthusiastically.
            • by Runefox (905204)
              This is Slashdot. We're all scientists here, and every post is a major scientific breakthrough that is ridiculed by the mainstream.

              For example, I just discovered that peanut butter cures cancer. But nobody will ever believe me.
            • This is my list of 10 key discoveries that were initially rejected by scientific peers, or at least not easily accepted:

              1. Theory of Relativity wasn't well received at the time. In fact, Einstein didn't actually get a Nobel Prize for it. Instead, he received the prize for other work he did dealing with quanta. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureat es/1921/press.html [nobelprize.org]

              2. Quantum Mechanics - Even Einstein didn't particularly like Quantum Mechanics and the search for the unified model. It was th
          • by Goldsmith (561202)
            What is non-mainstream science? I've seen talks on cold fusion, violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and other "fringe" fields at the same conferences I've presented my work at. They weren't labeled "non-mainstream", or "kooks", or anything like that. Look at who's doing this research. Taleyarkhan isn't some bum off the street, he's a well known physicist, with years of research experience in a "mainstream" lab.

            In my experience, scientists are so bloodthirsty for new discoveries that we're willin
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Honest mistakes should be more tolerated than intentional lying. I'd take stupidity, we're all stupid about something necessarily.
      • Missing Option (Score:4, Insightful)

        by iamlucky13 (795185) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:22PM (#18073600)
        Or maybe it's been dumbed down for/by the press.

        Physicists often over-simplify or inappropriately categorize things when trying to explain their papers to reporters (note that most journalism programs don't include courses on nuclear physics). Even if the reporter knows the difference between genuine cold fusion and sonofusion (keeping in mind that "cold" can be used somewhat ambiguously in regards to fusion), they might not expect their readers to and dumb it down themselves.

        Most likely of all is the stereotypical Professor Frink sitting in his lab babbling excitedly away about how it works while the reporter sits there and nods. When he says something like, "While individual Alpha particles are created with energies of N electron-volts, the system temperatures are on par with hypothetical cold fusion scenarios," guess which two words out such a statement will actually get written down in the reporter's notes.

        Taleyarkhan didn't claim he had caused cold fusion. He claimed sonofusion.

        For all readers getting excited about Mr. Fusion and nuclear jetpacks, I hate to inform you that Taleyarkan's experiments, assuming they genuinely did induce fusion, fell far, far short of unity.
      • by armb (5151)
        The article is about sonofusion. The Slashdot submission and headline don't mention sonofusion and say cold fusion. What makes you think any stupidity involved in that confusion has anything to do with anyone outside Slashdot?
    • Re:Odd. (Score:4, Informative)

      by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:59PM (#18070268) Journal
      Your definition of cold fusion is fusion happing at relatively low temperatures I take it?

      Well, the problem with that is that it most likely cannot exist, a certain amount of kinetic energy is required at the atomic level for fusion - meaning a lot of heat for the fusing atoms.

      I think cold fusion in general means that the average temperature of the reaction chamber is low. If I read the wikipedia article right, the technique used generates small superheated bubbles, but doesn't necessarily superheat the solvent, this I think it can be classified as cold fusion.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jimstapleton (999106)
        OK, this doesn't look like low energy input, even if it is room temperature, so it's probably not cold fusion as the OP posted.

        Cold Fusion [wikipedia.org]

        However such a thing may exist, and has been reproduced with difficulty, albeit on a small and commercially non-viable scale. It looks like it's hell on the components. And I suspect there are areas of high heat since it mentions parts melting.
      • Re:Odd. (Score:5, Funny)

        by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:15PM (#18070542)

        Your definition of cold fusion is fusion happing at relatively low temperatures I take it?

        Well, the problem with that is that it most likely cannot exist, a certain amount of kinetic energy is required at the atomic level for fusion

        It's easy to fuse hydrogen at room temperature, as long as you first replace the electrons in the atoms with muons. (Obtaining the muons is an exercise left to the reader.)

        • Re:Odd. (Score:5, Funny)

          by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:21PM (#18070626) Journal
          cows?
          • by schon (31600)
            No, those would be moo-ons. Muons are something else.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by ettlz (639203)
              They've been in short supply ever since the cow jumped over the moon, which radiates mo-ons. Meanwhile, experimentalists at the Tevatron are still offering a reward for information on The Dish, who is suspected to have absconded with their only spo-on.
        • by shma (863063)
          Why is this modded as funny? Muon-catalyzed fusion [wikipedia.org] has benn well understood for years.
        • Room temperature fusion is pretty trivial once you work out how to alter some of the laws of physics on a local level. Once you can do this, however, there are some much simpler ways of getting large quantities of energy. I can't help feeling this makes fusion something of a dead-end, when it comes to power generation; every theory I've read on how it might be possible allows you to generate energy much more easily without fusion once you've filled in the missing parts you need to turn the theory into a r
          • Fusion in a small amateur reactor is achievable. No need to change any laws of science. Getting break even is the problem. Now the hot fusion guys have spent how many $$$ and are no further ahead than the amateurs i.e. no break even. Nice expensive salaries not with standing.

            I have a hunch that we'll see break even fusion from one of the cheap amateur style reactors way before we see it from the mainstream guys. The amount of money that's been invested in hot fusion means that any progress is going to
        • Eagh. You came a little too close to reality on that one... reminds me of my classical dynamics textbook *twitch* *twitch*.

          At least physicists aren't quite as sadistic as Donald Knuth, who's infamous for slipping famous unsolved problems into the problem sections of his textbooks.
          • by mrmeval (662166)
            I'd say hopeful. Out of how many thousands of students you'd hope for one to solve the insovable.
      • Re:Odd. (Score:5, Informative)

        by radtea (464814) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:25PM (#18070696)
        Your definition of cold fusion is fusion happing at relatively low temperatures I take it?

        Cold fusion is fusion that takes place when the fusing nuclei are at temperatures significantly below those required to overcome the Coulomb barrier. It has nothing to do with the temperature of the laboratory that the experiment takes place in, or the temperature of the majority of the mass of the apparatus. For example, we do not call tokomak's "cold fusion" because despite the fact that they sometimes use superconducting magnets and therefore are not just "cold" but positively cryogenic, the nuclei that do the fusing are HOT.

        Any other use of the term "cold fusion" is terribly mis-leading for two reasons. One is that it invokes a completely arbitrary and unphysical division between various kinds of hot fusion, calling some kinds of hot fusion "cold" because someone happens to feel that it is important that some part of the apparatus that is not undergoing a fusion reaction is cold. The second reason is that it fails to distinguish between pressure-driven fusion of the kind claimed by Pons and Fleishman, and temperature-driven fusion which has actually been observed.

        People who use "cold fusion" when they mean "sonofusion" are either honestly ignorant of the differences between hot fusion and cold fusion, or are being wilfully dishonest.

        Despite the fact that neither Pons and Fleishman nor anyone else has ever been able to provide convincing evidence that pressure-driven fusion occurs between room-temperature nuclei, it is still the case that if anyone could figure out how to exert sufficient pressure, then the atoms would fuse, regardless of the amount of kinetic energy (that is, even at low temperatures.)

        So there is a real distinction in the physics of "hot" and "cold" fusion, and in terms of that unambiguous and physically interesting distinction, sonofusion, if it happens at all, is almost certainly hot. Although if the centre of the bubbles really is as hot as they seem, it is a mystery as to why we don't see any neutron production in water, but only in more complex organic molecules--the phenomenon remains mysterious and there is still a lot of work to be done to reveal its secrets.

      • by Runefox (905204)
        What are you talking about? You obviously don't know what ColdFusion [wikipedia.org] is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The physicist in question didn't call it cold fusion, nor, I think, did anyone else besides the /. submitter.
    • Re:Odd. (Score:4, Informative)

      by yoder (178161) * <progressivepenguin@gmail.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:01PM (#18070296) Homepage Journal
      This article seems to be a teaser. No real information available.
    • The three methods- heavy water battery, sonofusion, and the tesla coil can all be done with simple apparatus. None produces net energy.
  • by andy314159pi (787550) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:59PM (#18070274) Journal
    The person accusing Taleyarkhan of misinterpreting data was one of his own post-docs. I wonder what that person has to say now? I think it's easy to make allegations and its difficult to shake the effects of false allegations.

    • So - the question of 'reputation': 'Hard to shake' the reports of a former team-mate? This is primary research, and the results are bloody testable. Screw reputation. This is cricism is expected, required and to be commended. Taleyarkhan is surely not surprised that folks are jumping on every issue that they can find. If his sonofusion is replicated then he will be a hero.
      In life in general: *every* accuser of corruption is attacked as a liar. This is not fun - folks don't do this normally u
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
      The person accusing Taleyarkhan of misinterpreting data was one of his own post-docs. I wonder what that person has to say now?

      "Would you like fries with that?"
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:02PM (#18070318)
    First, the article title is VERY misleading. As others have pointed out, the question at hand is whether sonoluminescence can lead to fusion. In some peoples' minds, this is "cold" fusion, because the whole damned apparatus doesn't have to be a plasma. However, where the fusion is claimed to be taking place (in the middle of tremendously cavitating bubbles) *IS* in a plasma state (at least for part of an acoustic cycle). Thus, this might be better termed "locally hot" fusion or something. Or just "sonofusion", which everyone in the field seems to understand.

        Second, the New Scientist blurb is interesting in that Rusi seems to have been cleared of scientific fraud. The question, if I remember correctly, was whether the neutrons he was seeing were due to poor experimental techniques, contamination (accidental or purposeful), or simply weren't there in the first place. This blurb SEEMS to clear him of accusations of purposeful contamination and just making up the existence of neutrons. However, it doesn't mean that they were really there, and certainly not that he's really found thermal neutrons from fusion in his experiments. THAT will take a whole lot more "confirmation".

          (IAAP, but haven't been following this conflict closely. The last I paid attention was at the ASA meeting last December in Hawai'i. So I'm sure someone will correct my--- inadvertent---mistakes. This is, after all, Slashdot.)
    • by andy314159pi (787550) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:21PM (#18070628) Journal
      IAAPC and yeah I think the controversy was actually about whether the associated gamma rays, and not just the high energy neutrons, were from the deuterated acetone and not some other source sitting around the lab that was radioactive.

      Taleyarkhan, R.P., Cho, J.S. et.al. Physical Review E. vol 69 pg 36109-1. The title is: 'Additional Evidence of Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation.'

      See also this blurb [aip.org]
    • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:23PM (#18070662) Homepage
      Some context:
      • The slashdot editors have always loved posting credulous articles about cold fusion.
      • The original cold fusion experiments by Pons and Fleischman (using electrochemistry) didn't have any detectors in place to detect neutrons. In fact, if the experiment had been producing the level of power they were claiming, they'd have been dead from the neutrons.
      • In the '90's, Gai et al. at Yale redid the Pons and Fleischman experiments with an array of neutron detectors, and found no excess neutrons.
      • There are really only two ways of interpreting the electrochemistry experiments at this point: (1) they didn't produce fusion; or (2) there are huge, fundamental mistakes in our understanding of the hydrogen atom (e.g., there's another state whose energy is lower than the normal ground state's).
      • by mdsolar (1045926)
        Making no claim to an understanding of the result, I would just point out that they were working with deuterium, a nuclear boson rather than hydrogen, a fermion. In fact, hydrogen was used as a control. Theoretical work that I know of concentrates on direct to helium fusion without any neutron production. The ideas that I am aware of, expressed by Scott Chubb, center on coherent boosting of a low branching ratio D-D->He4 reaction.

        With the bubble fusion, the idea is that it is conventional hot fusion
      • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:14PM (#18072384) Homepage Journal
        You are repeating urban legends:

        • The original cold fusion experiments by Pons and Fleischman (using electrochemistry) didn't have any detectors in place to detect neutrons. In fact, if the experiment had been producing the level of power they were claiming, they'd have been dead from the neutrons


        You don't die from a few hundret neutrons ... and also not all fusion reactions create neutrons.

        There are really only two ways of interpreting the electrochemistry experiments at this point: (1) they didn't produce fusion; or (2) there are huge, fundamental mistakes in our understanding of the hydrogen atom (e.g., there's another state whose energy is lower than the normal ground state's).

        Regarding (2): I don't think our understanding is fundamentally wrong. However I believe there are options no one really payed attention to. After all our first ideas about fusion comes from watching the sun. Our first attempt on fusion likely was the H-Bomb. Both are pretty hot fusion processes. They both are explainable with fusion reaction formulas, so we gain confidence that our formulas and our understanding of fusion and fission processes are viable. OTOH in such a fusion experiment we could imagine that 3 or 4 protons fuse etc.

        Well, 40 years ago "high temperature" super conduction was physically impossible. If a scientist had claimed super conduction does exist on high temperatures as well, his colleagues had declared him mad. I think that fusion processes in analogous ways like super conduction might be possible, or in other words that the underlying principles might be similar.

        angel'o'sphere
        • by radtea (464814) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:17PM (#18073510)
          ... and also not all fusion reactions create neutrons.

          This is not quite correct, especially in the context of fusion in the solid state.

          It is true that considered in complete isolation from everything else, the reaction d + d -> 4He is neutron free. But considered in complete isolation from everything else a great many things are true. For example, it is true that considered in complete isolation from everything else, you can drive your car the wrong way down a one-way street and not suffer any collisions. But I doubt that would stand up in court as a justification for claiming that driving your car the wrong way down a one-way street is perfectly safe.

          In the case of fusion, for d + d -> 4He to occur, d + d -> 3He + n must also occur. And when d + d -> 4He occurs, the alpha particle carries off about 23 MeV, if memory serves. This is quite far above the neutron binding energy of most nuclei, which means that nuclear collisions as the alpha particle slows down can knock neutrons free. And such collisions produce a lot of gamma rays, too.

          Believers in cold fusion are required to make up phenomena that might suppress these and other neutron and gamma production processes. Unfortunately, those phenomena always contradict what we know about solid state and nuclear physics. And by "know" I don't mean just "what we have a good theoretical understanding of" but also "what we are empirically certain of."

          Finally, I'd like to point out a trivial falsehood in your post:

          Well, 40 years ago "high temperature" super conduction was physically impossible. If a scientist had claimed super conduction does exist on high temperatures as well, his colleagues had declared him mad.

          On the contrary, when a scientist actually did claim that super conduction exists at high temperatures his colleagues first reproduced the results and then gave him a Nobel Prize. That's what scientists do when people find the unexpected--try to reproduce the results, and if they do, reward the discoverer. No matter how astonishing and unexpected the results are. It is only when people make improbable claims with insufficient evidence that the question of their sanity is raised.
          • by mdsolar (1045926)
            I think I agree that if the alpha ends up with the energy is should knock a few things around. So, tracks found in detectors http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=22317 0 &cid=18073680 [slashdot.org] are the sort of thing you might expect. On the other hand, the only framework of a thoery for cold fusion that I've seen that sort of gets me to nod my head a little involves selectively boosting the d+d->He4 branch, which is based on quantum arguments. So, in so far as there is a theory, the direct production
    • by Otter (3800) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:29PM (#18070758) Journal
      This blurb SEEMS to clear him of accusations of purposeful contamination and just making up the existence of neutrons.

      A New York Times article [nytimes.com] with more detail suggests they didn't even clear him of that, just of passing off his own work as independent replication. It sounds like no one's interests have been especially well-served here.

      • A New York Times article [nytimes.com] with more detail suggests they didn't even clear him of that, just of passing off his own work as independent replication.

        And strangely enough, the NY Times article seems to ignore the November independent replication of the experiment mentioned in the New Scientist article. It sounds to me like NOBODY has the full story, and therefore both sources of information are rather suspect.
    • The impression that I got was that the original cold fusion wasn't repeatable anywhere and the original pair that made the claims wouldn't let anyone else touch the apparatus that they had used. Any further inquiry was basically evaded and really looked very suspicious in their behavior, and it was time to just move on.
      • The impression that I got was that the original cold fusion wasn't repeatable anywhere and the original pair that made the claims wouldn't let anyone else touch the apparatus that they had used. Any further inquiry was basically evaded and really looked very suspicious in their behavior, and it was time to just move on.

        It's hard to figure out what exactly is going on, but this is a good overview [wikipedia.org]. Things are messy, P&F certainly made errors, both scientific and political, there are people who will say c
    • "another scientist" (Score:5, Informative)

      by forringer (635269) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:21PM (#18074524)
      Well, I am that "other scientist." It is nice to see good press for bubble fusion reach slashdot (no, I didn't submit it.)

      First, I agree with the previous posters that this is not "cold fusion." The centers of the collapsing bubbles are very hot. Apparently hot enough to cause fusion.

      The research I published was based on experiments conducted at Purdue University using a setup provided by Dr. Taleyarkhan. All equipment calibration, measurements, and data analysis were preformed by me and my students. We had full access to the equipment and we were very careful to make sure that there was nothing to contaminate our data.

      People who have read the actual paper (Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, vol 95, p 736) would agree that the results published leave no room for doubt that the neutrons are caused by the collapsing bubbles in a deuterated fluid - the appropriate control experiments were performed - the statistics are significant.

      The controversy comes because several well respected and talented physicists have not been able to reproduce Dr. Taleyarkhan's results in their own labs. This has led several people (including an editor from Nature Magazine) to conclude that Dr. Taleyarkhan must be faking his data.

      I cannot explain why it has been so hard to reproduce the results in another lab except to say that null results are pretty easy to get in any sensitive experiment and it originally took Dr. Taleyarkhan several years to perfect his methods.

      I suspect that all that is needed is a little more time and we will hear about several labs who have confirmed this work completely independently. Of course we are working on that very thing here at LeTourneau University.

      Even if it takes some time to reproduce the results at another lab, having independent researchers come to Purdue and reproduce the experiments should be a big step in moving past the controversy.

      Respectfully,
      Dr. Ted Forringer
      Assistant Professor of Physics
      LeTourneau University
      • Hi 'Another Scientist,' I wonder if you could clear something up for us, namely how close does this reaction come to break-even? Does it look like the apparatus could be modified to pass this point (i.e. is the limitation based on physics or engineering)?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by forringer (635269)
          > how close does this reaction come to break-even? Lets see ... we put about 10 watts of power in and got something less than 10,000 neutrons/second out. At 2.5 MeV per neutron, that is about 4e-9 Watts out. So, not close. > Does it look like the apparatus could be modified > to pass this point (i.e. is the limitation based > on physics or engineering)?" There is no physics limitation that I know of - it looks like a (hard) engineering question. Respectfully, Ted Forringer
          • by forringer (635269) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:15PM (#18075846)
            (sorry, I have fixed the formatting in the previous post)

            > how close does this reaction come to break-even?

            Lets see ... we put about 10 watts of power in and got something less than 10,000 neutrons/second out. At 2.5 MeV per neutron, that is about 4e-9 Watts out.

            So, not close.

            > Does it look like the apparatus could be modified
            > to pass this point (i.e. is the limitation based > on physics or engineering)?"

            There is no physics limitation that I know of - it looks like a (hard) engineering question.

            Respectfully,
            Ted Forringer
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by deglr6328 (150198)
        "People who have read the actual paper (Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, vol 95, p 736) would agree that the results published leave no room for doubt that the neutrons are caused by the collapsing bubbles in a deuterated fluid - the appropriate control experiments were performed - the statistics are significant."

        Well apparently everyone DOES NOT agree that there "can be no doubt" about such things. In fact, some very important physicists in the field vehemently DISagree. I find it also telling
  • Quick Lets get Val Kilmer to reprise his role as "The Saint". In " The Saint II: Electric Bugaloo- The real cold fusion"
  • by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:16PM (#18070564)
    Apparently, Purdue refused to state what the exact allegations investigated were, how many inquiries it conducted, or what its conclusions were based on. Hard to tell if the investigation's conclusions were arrived at fairly or were politically motivated. More details in this NYT article [nytimes.com] which I found from this blog entry [scienceblogs.com].
  • Most people seem to think that hydrogen atoms can only get together under extreme pressures and heat. The ones that disagree seem to think that some tricky apparatus is required to get two hydrogen atoms to unite. I want to know: has anybody tried just asking them if they wouldn't mind merging their nuclei? It might just work.
    • ... has anybody tried just asking them if they wouldn't mind merging their nuclei? It might just work.

      Gosh, I hope not.

      Just think what would happen if the hydrogen in the ocean water overheard and even a small percentage of them decided to go along...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      has anybody tried just asking them if they wouldn't mind merging their nuclei?

      Been there, done that. Unfortunately my sample of hydrogen seems to be contaminated with Administratium [wikipedia.org] so the hydrogen formed a number of subcommittees to research the proposal. The initial reports look favourable, but it could be several years before a conclusion is reached...

  • Capturing and making the energy useful will be tricky, launching a whole new school of (hopefully) lightweight (and safe) efficient power units. Imagine using the thumpa-thumpa woofers in your trunk to scoot your car down the street.
    • by mrmeval (662166)
      They'd need to be one way valves and the suction would pull the passengers through them....

      GET BUSY WITH THAT NOW!!!

  • This is about bubble fusion. Those interested in cold fusion should look here http://www.lenr-canr.org/ [lenr-canr.org].
    --
    Get hot fusion: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
  • Good (Score:3, Funny)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:04PM (#18071246)
    he ought to publicise the names and email addresses of his accusers.
  • by cheekyboy (598084) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:59PM (#18072102) Homepage Journal
    http://www.proton21.com.ua/index_en.html [proton21.com.ua]

    The first successful experiment was performed on February 24, 2000 in a specially created and proprietary set up. In fact, the 5,000+ successful experiments in controlled nuclei-synthesis performed since 1999, using various targets made of light, medium, or heavy elements; have allowed the research team at EDL to comprehend and evaluate this unique scientific breakthrough.
    The discovered process has been noted for its practical, environmentally friendly and extraordinary energy efficient attributes.

    Two major outcomes have emerged from this process:

            * First, the creation of an energy output far exceeding the initial impact.
            * Second, the creation of an array of unique nuclei-synthesis elements. These new elements were tested by leading scientific laboratories in Ukraine, Russia, USA, etc, and their artificial origin was confirmed.
  • Most scientists are snobs. They are just shrouded in politics and beliefs. There are a whole slew of topics that if you even mention you want to just consider the possibility of they want to revoke any credibility you may have and label you gypsy. Cold fusion is one of those topics. Fusion is nothing all that magical. It happens all around us. It's the black box that produces the same amount of energy as a traditional coal plant through fusion that is so dubious.

    Myself I'm a big fan of the idea that t
  • It's an encouraging first step.

    Now all we need is for the pseudo-empiricist bigots to stop posthumously calling Stanley Meyer a charlatan as well, especially considering that he was poisoned in order to get him to stop engaging in his research.

    There are a lot of things going on at the moment, research wise, which are outside the orthodoxy...and that doesn't mean they're not possible.

    One of Einstein's most redeeming characteristics was his degree of humility. There are a lot of scientists who would do well
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:27PM (#18073680)
    On a slightly off-topic note, for those who have not been following the details in the cold fusion field, some very persuasive evidence has emerged FOR the original cold fusion experiments (the Pons-Fleischmann style cold fusion using Palladium and Deuterium). The evidence was presented by researchers at the US Navy's SPAWAR labs late in 2006. The reserchers are highly experienced scientists who have taken their time and performed the experiments thoroughly. A description of the evidence is at http://www.newenergytimes.com/news/2006/NET19.htm# ee [newenergytimes.com].

    Some of the biggest problems in cold fusion experiments has been long incubation periods, perhaps weeks/months, difficulty in calorimetry experiments for determining if heat was being generated, and replication.

    Two techniques have been detailed by SPAWAR. The first is the using chemical co-deposition methods to combine Palladium and Deuterium, allowing a solid Palladium structure to form with Deuterium already 'mixed' in with it. Previously, weeks were often needed to allow absorption of Deuterium into the Palladium. Using the co-deposition technique, cold fusion effects become apparent within minutes, such as anomalous amounts of tritium, low-intensity x-ray radiation, and increased heat. This happens on a highly repeatable basis.

    The second, highly outstanding experimental result is the use of nuclear industry standard CR-39 nuclear track detectors, which look like small pieces of plastic and are permently etched with tiny impact craters whenever a high energy nuclear particle hits them. Chemical reactions cannot produce the craters or tracks. The experiment involved placing a CR-39 track detector physically next to the Palladium-Deuterium electrode.

    What resulted was the detection of some of the highest density counts ever seen on the detectors of high energy nuclear particles. Independent nuclear experts who have examined the CR-39 detectors recognized the signature tracks of protons and alpha particles, which, to be ejected from the atoms where they reside, require millions of volts - at least 1,000,000 times more energy than can be produced by any known chemical reaction. As a control experiment, exposed CR-39 detectors in a lithium solution without palladium in it resulted in only a sprinkling of tracks, randomly distributed and so few in number that they could be accounted for by background radiation.

    The only surrounding energy sources were a few volts from the current applied through electrolysis; the second is an applied external electric field of about 6,000 volts. The particle tracks look identical to tracks made by nuclear particles that have at least 2 million electron-volts.

    The really nice thing is is that you can almost see the tracks with your naked eye. Take the detectors elsewhere, to conferences etc, show others later; the tracks are permently etched evidence of nuclear reactions occuring in a Palladium-Deuterium benchtop setup.

    The evidence here for Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion is now getting to the point where the scientific community has to seriously consider that Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion DOES exist under the right conditions, whether people want to accept it or not. Hard to replicate is not the same as impossible to replicate.

    • by TheLink (130905)
      Yeah. My opinion over the "cold fusion" thing has always been- even if it _isn't_ fusion it sure seems like there is something _interesting_ going on that's worth investigating.

      Billions have been spent on less interesting thing stuff - like the expensive international space station for instance. Not really bang for buck for "interesting stuff done". Work on making space travel cheap and reliable _first_, then only do lots of work on space stations. Not the other way round. Doh.
  • Perhaps... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by posterlogo (943853) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:45PM (#18074834)
    Perhaps he has been "vindicated", but I'm not at all sure that the results are valid. Just because he was cleared of misconduct by the investigative board, that does not mean there isn't still some caveat to his experiments that muddles a clear interpretation of the results. What is more promising, however, is the fact that another colleague managed to get similar results. The conditions are just too difficult to recreate however (and there was some debate as to whether Taleyarkhan actually helped the colleague out significantly, so as to make the second run not really an "independent" experiment), so until more truly independent labs can reproduce the results, I'll still be taking this with a grain of salt.

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